This is the worst, most impossible news I’ve had occasion to pass on. I frankly am having trouble believing it’s real. Paul and Helen were Mid-City residents until their home was flooded. ROX viewers will know from episode #90, Fat — the cute vegan couple with the pet pig. I wish it was a bad dream. They just stopped by our house Sunday night. I’m too scared and angry and sad to even say more at this point, but plenty more must be said and done.
First, excerpts from nola.com, then words from Robert Thompson that begin to express what I’m feeling but can’t articulate.
In the sixth murder New Orleans murder in less than a day, a woman was killed and her husband shot in their home this morning at about 5:30 a.m., said New Orleans police, who found the bleeding husband kneeling at the door of the couple’s home, holding their two-year-old son in his arms.
The toddler was not hurt; the husband, 35, underwent surgery at Elmwood/Charity Trauma Center, police said, where his son was also taken for examination. The woman, 36, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The slayings, for which police offered no motive, capped off a wave of bloodshed severe even by New Orleans standards, and comes three days after Police Superintendent Warren Riley called a year-end news conference to put a positive spin on last year’s murder total of 161, which he called the lowest in 30 years. On a per capita basis, however, even the most optimistic projection of the post-flood city’s drastically shrunken population makes that murder rate an increase over previous years…
— At 5:30 a.m. Thursday, police were called to the Rampart Street killing. Neighbors of the couple later identified them as Helen Hill and Paul Gailiunas, a married couple who first came to the city more than a decade ago, and just moved back in August after a post-Katrina exile in South Carolina. The neighbors said Gailiunas was a doctor and Hill a freelance animator and filmmaker.
From: Robert Thompson
Date: January 4, 2007 1:33:48 PM CST
Subject: [FaubourgStJohn] Horrible Tragedy
News has just arrived of the murder and shooting of two of the most kind and generous people who this community has ever seen. I met HELEN HILL at our coffeehouse community space where she was teaching class for the New Orleans film collective. I’ve never met a more pleasant person. She now lies dead from being shot in her Marigny home. Dr. Paul Gailiunas was also shot while carrying their newborn child. The child is unharmed, but Paul is seriously injured, but likely to survive. Paul’s clinic saw many poor people, including some of my employees in an Esplanade clinic. He has received numerous Community Awards for his work with homeless and under privileged. His band, “The Troublemakers” entertained with a progressive political commentary, a testament to love and action against injustice.
These people didn’t deserve this! We don’t deserve this! When will this insanity stop? A lifetime of love snuffed for who knows what. I wish Paul and Helen had made the selfish decision and stayed in Canada or wherever…how could we waste their gift…and this is the fifth murder in the last 14 hours. I can’t believe this couple wants our bowed heads or silent prayers. What they would want is action. I can’t take this anymore. Does anyone else feel this level of outrage? Does anyone else feel we must get the guns off the streets, we must eliminate privileged and underclasses, we must stop drug exploitation, we must not tolerate racism, violence, hate…
I for one believe that unless we do something to make fundamental changes, we have pulled the trigger and fired the shots that have killed and destroyed these beautiful beings. I’m taking this one personally.